Sunday, November 30, 2008

The "Killer" at Thanksgiving

This is Addison... master of a ...well, master of a potential killer.

Here is Addison with his sweet wife, Kasi, and ... the killer, aka Vito. Oh, don't be deceived by his small size and sweet face. Looks can be deceiving...

You may have heard of the wolf in sheep's clothing? Even my brother doesn't know the deadly creature he holds... Kasi smiles - oh, how little do they know...
The evidence:

Becky, Florence Nightingale in disguise, is applying alcohol to my poor guys leg...

Where he was BIT...

My poor guy could hardly walk...
Addison, alarmed by the rage of his animal, threw him in jail. Well, it wasn't exactly jail, but he threw Vito in his cage.
I went to take a picture of this potential killer. He was so embarrassed, he wouldn't even look at me.
Compare... the guilt (above) with the supposed innocence (below). Deception...

Cook's Corner

There's something new here at the Johnston Chronicles.

It's called "Cook's Corner" and it's my new blog...yep, another blog! I love to to share recipes ... and after Stephanie, a regular reader of the Johnston Chronicles started a cooking blog, I decided to give it a try.

From here, if you click on the right where it says "Cooks Corner", it will take you to the blog. If you click under it, it will take you just to that specific post. The first post is Saddie's Spanish Steak.This is Saddie laughing at me taking so many pictures of her cooking Spanish Steak.

Check it out!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I love's probably my favorite holiday.

I love all the holidays - for different reasons, mostly faith-based, but Thanksgiving ... well, it's not commercialized like the other ones are. There's not any stress attached to it. I love to cook ... Fall is such a great time of year ... and I love to be with family.

This year, we won't be with our own kids and their families (We'll be with them at Christmas.) but we will get to spend it with our parents and brothers. I'm looking forward to that.

So I'm thankful for this week... to visit with family, to rest, to eat turkey, and to be thankful for all that I'm thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!Thanksgiving, 2007

This is a collage I've just figured out how to make... thanks to an old student and fellow blogger, Lindsey, who lives in London. Thanks, Lindsey!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The sweet sound and taste of crunchy granola... Thanks once again to Nada

My friend Rema came over last week and gave me this:"Um?" I thought. It's not Christmas...and Rema certainly wouldn't be EARLY with anything... I started to open it...

"OH MY GOODNESS," I believe I shrieked.
"OH MY..." I continued to shriek. I started to sweat and it wasn't from a hot flash... it was excitement, anticipation...

Rema then told me she had already eaten some.

Now I'm not a greedy person, but I had thoughts of destruction cross my mind thinking Rema had eaten some of MY GRANOLA from NADA! I DID contain myself and rationalize out that maybe, just maybe, Nada had sent Rema some granola too. After all, Nada IS Rema's aunt.

I opened it all the way. Inside were three sweet packages of granola. (Nada, knowing there were three... do you think Rema confiscated any of it?)

Oh my...look at that!

Oh yum... I had to get a little closer...
and still closer...
...shoot, I just finally reached in and grabbed some!
Oh Nada! I absolutely LOVE this granola! I asked Rema if you made it or bought it... she uttered a little laugh, 'Oh no, Nada likes to shop. She bought it,' was Rema's answer.

Well, the next day, I was getting ready to start the day. Vanessa, my wonderful student and photographer of the last batch of granola, came up to chit-chat. I said to Vanessa, "Guess what I'm having with my yogurt and apples today?"

I gave her a BIG SMILE when I said that.

Here's Vanessa's reaction:

What was muffled under her hands was, "OH, DID YOU GET SOME MORE OF NADA'S GRANOLA?"

Yes, Vanessa, I certainly did!

...and I proceeded to eat one entire bag in one setting. I kept telling myself to stop, but I wasn't listening. I'm rationing out the rest!

Now for newer readers of the Johnston Chronicles, you may be wondering just who in the world is Nada. Nada, who I've already said, is Rema's aunt... and Camilla's great-aunt. I first met Nada when she flew out here from Texas. Camilla had had to go to UCSF and so Nada rode down with me. That was how I really got to know and love Nada!

In this picture, we were all playing Monopoly... Starting with me standing, going clockwise, is Nada, Camilla, Rema, and Dick. It's hard to believe, but I think this was taken close to 5 years ago. Nada, THANK YOU SO MUCH....

We have a wedding in July... in Austin! I think I may need to do a little sho(crunch crunch)pping while I'm there!

We'll have to talk, Nada!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 13, 1913

Our neighbor... our dear friend ... part of our 'family' ... Marvin, celebrated his 95th birthday today.At 95 years old, Marvin still "goofs off" as he says. He doesn't take medicine, still drives his car and/or his pickup around town, stills splits up his wood, mows the lawn... and he's an awesome cribbage player! He said his schedule is "sleep, eat, and goof off."Tonight, as we were talking about being 95 years old, Marvin said there's been a 'lot of water under the bridge.'I started asking him a lot of questions which led to a lot of stories...Our buddy, Marvin, was born in Exeter, California. He's the middle of 5 boys: Paul, Galen, Marvin, Gerald, and Jules (but they called him Dooley.) Marvin's dad, Lester, had grape vineyards. He lost them in the depression and then went to work for the Department of the Interior as a crew chief for the conservation corps. Marvin's mom was Marguerite. Marvin told us he was "the last of the Mohicans" meaning he's the last of his brothers.I asked Marvin what was one thing that he felt was the biggest difference between his younger years and now. He didn't hesitate before he said, "Money!" He said $1 went a long way - beer was a dime, a bowl of beans, hamburger and a glass of milk cost him $0.25. It cost $0.10 to go to the show...and Marvin said he never paid over $5. for a pair of shoes. Yep, things have definitely changed. I know in previous conversations with Marvin, one of his lines he will often say when he's talking about today's prices is, "My memory is too long." In other words, he remembers those $0.25 dinners!Marvin and one of his brothers, (I think it was Galen), use to take their donkeys and pack them up into the Sierras. They would be gone for 2 weeks or so. Marvin said he thought his mom probably worried a little, but not his dad. Marvin would have been about 12 or 13 years old at the time! (Marguerite, I would definitely have been a bit worried too!)I asked Marvin about his jobs. He has done a lot of farm work: tractors, wheat harvester, tourist packer into the Sierras. He has been a truck driver, driving a big truck for about 3 years. In the 1930's he hauled oranges. The truck would go 25 mph with the truck & trailer...Marvin earned $15 a trip. (This was to southern California!) On these trips, going uphill, his truck would sometimes get down to 5 mph. Marvin would get out of the truck and run alongside it to wake up! (I wonder if Marguerite knew about that?)Marvin also said he spent some time as a 'Grease Monkey'...for $1.57 an hour! He's been a mechanic and also lived in Alaska for awhile doing construction in Nome. There he built a large government building. He also worked on a gold dredge for 2 seasons "way out in the boonies."His first job in our county was in a mill. It was an old miner mill... and he was a ratchet setter. (Ron knew just what Marvin was talking about, but I don't have a clue!)

Ron asked him how he learned to be a mechanic. "Oh just common sense.... and working with good people."

Marvin went into the Marine Corps Reserve as an Air Craft Armor. He was 27 years old. His job was to keep the machine guns firing and synchronized. Plus he had 3 planes he kept up and going. He was sent to the South Pacific in the war as part of the Dive Bomber Squadron. He was put on the repair station after he 'got back from the islands.'Marvin met the love of his life, Nell, in 1944 in San Diego. Nell was also in the Marines. She was in the squadron office and according to Marvin, "she made the mistake of delivering mail to my squadron." Marvin said when Nell came in, he told his buddy, 'I'm going to take her home." His buddy replied, "You won't even get a date with her." They were married in 1945.

In 1947, they moved to our county and bought 6.5 acres. They came here to raise Easter Lillies...however, they wouldn't grow here. So he bought a little tractor and made more money with the tractor. He eventually sold that and bought "the five acres" in 1962 for $600 an acre.

Marvin and Nell had 3 sons: Jeff, Mark, and Dave. They lost a set of twins in between Jeff and Mark - a boy and a girl.

We met Marvin and Nell a little over 20 years ago. A local contractor, Harry, wanted Marvin and Nell's 5 acres and he made them a deal. He built them a new home in the cul-de-sac where we live now. At the exact same time, we purchased land from Harry and he began to build our home too.

Harry would work a little at ours...a little at Marvin and Nell's. Nell later told me that we had gotten her bathroom linoleum. I let her know that ours had already been she actually got the better deal! But that's how we got to know Marvin and Nell... thanks to Harry and the building of our homes.

Marvin lost the love of his life to cancer. During the time Nell was sick, we began to get closer to both of them. Since Nell left us, Marvin has become part of our 'family.' There couldn't be a better friend... a better neighbor... a better all-around wonderful man .. as Marvin. We adore him!

We love it when Marvin comes over for dinner. We've settled into a little routine:

Ron and Marvin usually have a beer at 5:30 p.m. Marvin likes Miller Genuine Draft. Ron varies his selection. There is always some trail mix and various kinds of nuts...cashews, peanuts, etc. Marvin LOVES cashews. He said he was a squirrel because he likes nuts so much!
Toasting 95 years!This is my new discovery: Mary's Gone Crackers, especially the Black Pepper variety. These crackers with Dubliner Cheese... oh my! Marvin really likes that Dubliner cheese. It's quickly being established as an accompaniment to the 5:30 p.m. beer and nuts.
Here you can see the spread. This is where we usually situate ourselves. I'm usually finishing up dinner... and eating snacks along with my guys!
After dinner, comes cribbage, of which Marvin is a master. Marvin actually "skunked" my guy tonight...not once, but twice. Must be experience!Marvin gave us a cribbage board he made... in Alaska... in... um? I think it was 1937. I'll have to double check that date. He and my guy use it when I'm not playing. (It's only for 2 players, like most cribbage boards are.)A close up of the cribbage board Marvin gave us.Rema came over and celebrated Marvin's birthday with us. I got the tripod out and took a group photo to commemorate our wonderful time celebrating with Marvin.
So, Happy 95th birthday, Marvin!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Veteran

My Veteran ... my baby boy, Joshua. I think of him everyday... pray for him, for his family, for his safety. But today, being Veteran's Day, I think of him a little more - if that's possible. Joshua is in the Marines... I think this is his 11th year? Is that right, Josh? It is an awesome responsibility he has chosen for his career, protecting our country. Remember our Veteran's...

Even Google is paying homage to them on their homepage!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

This bear didn't come to my house...

I've already written that October 31 is not my favorite day of the year...and it's not. That's mainly because of being a teacher. What I do ENJOY... is the precious little trick-or-treaters who come knocking on our door.

This adorable black-eyed bear, did NOT come to my house.
He looks a little sad... I know it's because his mama told him 'NO' when he asked to come to my house.
He turned around and stuck his tongue out at his sweet mama...

It didn't do any good.

I missed you, Jack.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Apron Sisters... on Halloween

October 31 is not my favorite day. Being a teacher, the day can be a little... maybe chaotic is the word.

One of the agonizing parts of the day is deciding what in the world 'to be' for the annual Halloween parade. Thus I now speak of my friend, Sandi... my retired friend, Sandi ... my cooking friend who now has lots of time to cook, Sandi... and actually has time to paint and sew. Do you get the picture?

Three of my girlfriends at school - Laner, Pam, and Lynne - all, like me, have one of Sandi's apron creations. So... about a week before the dreaded day, Lynne and I had a grand idea ... we would wear aprons for Halloween... and carry a bowl ... and a wooden spoon! We told Laner and Pam - who probably thought we were geniuses (is that how you spell more than one genius?). Thus, the following: